There are plenty of words and phrases that will immediately put a pit in any manager's stomach. I'm overworked. I'm unhappy. I quit. There's another one that deserves a spot on the list: It's time for performance reviews. At their worst, performance reviews are daunting, nerve-wracking, dreaded obligations — for managers and employees alike. At their best, they're frustrating inconveniences or seemingly trivial exercises that eat into the time everybody needs to do their real work. Yet employee performance reviews arrive on the calendar like clockwork. And if you're going to have to do these reviews anyway, you might as well make the most of them so that you and your direct reports can get as much value as possible out of this mandatory process. This guide has everything you need — including several different performance review templates — to make your performance reviews a little more beneficial (and a lot less bothersome). Do employee performance reviews actually matter? Employee performance reviews have faced a lot of scrutiny in recent years, and a whopping 95% of managers admit that they're dissatisfied with the formal performance appraisals at their companies. Despite the groans and eyerolls (some of which are well-deserved), conducting formal employee performance evaluations offers a number of benefits for employees, managers, and the entire organization: Provide and receive regular feedback: 92% of employees say that they want to receive feedback more than once per year. They crave guidance and information, and frequent performance reviews (i.e, not just annual ones) provide a reliable and regular opportunity to offer employees insight into their strengths and weaknesses, skills and areas for improvement. Highlight growth opportunities: Even if the review process feels daunting, 64% of employees say they receive helpful feedback from their performance evaluation — they get their hands on information that helps them learn and grow within their careers. Plus, when 49% of employees say they want to develop their skills but don't know where to begin, these feedback conversations are a chance for managers to understand their direct reports' career desires and help them hash out plans for their professional development. Clarify expectations: Only about half of employees strongly agree that they know what's expected of them at work. While review conversations are focused on performance, they also involve reiterating goals, responsibilities, and expectations. That means workers have a better understanding of what success looks like in their role — and how they can advance and set goals if they're eager to do so. Solicit feedback: Performance reviews aren't about one-sided evaluations, reprimands, and punishments. They should be two-sided dialogues with an aim to make your team as effective and efficient as it can be. That means performance evaluations are also a chance for you to collect insights and opinions about how you can be even more supportive and impactful as a manager. While employee performance reviews might involve some hard-to-hear constructive criticism and some anxiety-inducing discussion points, they're a valuable opportunity to build trust, offer support, and ultimately work toward a high-performing team and organization. Acing performance management: Six tips to help employees thrive Your performance reviews go a long way in encouraging your employees to reach their full potential — provided you do them right. Before we get into the performance review examples and templates, here are a few best practices to keep in mind as you tackle the review process: 1. Prioritize continuous feedback For feedback to be effective, it needs to be a core component of your culture — not something that happens once or twice each year. That's likely why annual performance reviews are falling by the wayside in some companies and industries. Formal performance evaluations absolutely still have their time and place, but they shouldn't be the only time your employees are getting your insight. Nothing that comes up in the review should be a surprise. You should be offering feedback regularly and not saving it all for review time. 2. Set a positive tone Performance reviews feel nerve-wracking for you as the manager, but even more so for your employees. To ease some of those butterflies, frame the conversation positively. It's a chance for them to learn, grow, and improve — and not a chance for you to dish out criticism, highlight their mistakes, or make them feel unworthy. 3. Offer examples For any piece of feedback you offer, be prepared to give a tangible, real-life example of that behavior or skill. Rather than saying, "I'd like to see you speak up more in team meetings," say something like, "I know you had tons of great ideas about how to improve our work intake process, which you emailed to me after a team meeting. The entire team could benefit from hearing your suggestions, so I'd like to see you work on speaking up more in team meetings rather than saving all of your contributions for afterwards." This helps you go beyond generalities and provide specifics, which is far more impactful for employees. 4. Provide a written review ahead of time For "traditional" reviews ( when managers provide feedback to their direct reports), it's smart to do a written portion and provide that feedback document to the employee ahead of any conversation. When you do meet, you're both equipped to have a productive back-and-forth dialogue about the comments you provided, as the employee has already had a chance to digest those remarks and come up with questions. Plus, this approach makes your meeting feel like more of a collaborative effort and less of an interrogation. 5. Clearly detail action items Employees are faced with an avalanche of information during performance reviews that can feel overwhelming. Much like with any other meeting, cap off your conversation by clearly highlighting action items. Employees should walk out of their reviews with no doubts about what steps they're expected to take next. 6. Ask for feedback Performance reviews are often synonymous with offering feedback, but it's also your chance to collect information about your employees' goals, frustrations, and experiences — as well as how you can improve as a leader. Four employee performance review templates Now that you've laid the groundwork, you're ready to move forward with your performance reviews. While providing feedback to a direct report is likely the first thing that springs to mind, that's not the only type of review that exists. Below, we're digging into four unique types of employee perfomance reviews, why they're beneficial, and when to do them — along with some employee evaluation templates to help make the process a little bit easier. 1. Self-reviews What this type of performance review is: Employees are given questionnaires or are provided with prompts to reflect on their own work, goals, and challenges. As the name implies, they're reviewing themselves — and they often follow that up by discussing their remarks with their manager. When this type of review happens: Usually every quarter or twice per year. Self-reviews typically happen alongside the more "traditional" employer review, so that that feedback can be compared to see if the manager and direct report have similar perceptions of the work that's being done. Why this type of review matters: Reviews don't have to mean constantly handing down instructions from on high. This type of review gives employees a chance to be more introspective, think through their own progress and experiences, and identify other career ambitions they want to pursue. How to conduct this type of review: Provide each employee with a questionnaire or template to fill out. It will include various questions that they should answer about their role, skills, achievements, and more. Make sure to give them adequate time (at least a week) to complete the questionnaire before any follow-up conversations are scheduled to discuss their answers. This isn't something you want them to rush through. Performance review template for self-reviews: Not sure how to get your employees' wheels turning? This template will provide some inspiration for what you should be asking. Question: Employee's Answer: Your name: Your job title: What do you consider to be the primary responsibilities of your role? What do you like most about your current role? What would you like to change about your current role? Which of your job responsibilities excite and energize you? Which of your job responsibilities make you feel drained and depleted? What achievement are you most proud of from the past [number] months? What's the most difficult situation you've faced at work in the past [number] months? On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), how would you rate your performance since your last review or check-in? What skills would you like to work on building ahead of your next evaluation? What goals would you like to work toward ahead of your next evaluation? How can your manager support you in achieving those goals? Is there anything else you'd like your manager to know? 2. Peer reviews What this type of performance review is: Colleagues who work regularly or closely with an employee are asked to review their coworker's performance, skills, and contributions. When this type of review happens: Usually annually or twice per year. Again, it's often a piece of a more complete performance review process (something you might hear referred to as "360 degree feedback") where employees do self-reviews and also receive remarks from their managers, their colleagues, and, if they're in leadership positions, their direct reports. Why this type of review matters: Managers don't always have direct, hands-on insight into how employees are doing. Colleagues who work closely with other team members are sometimes better able to give more in-depth, specific, and helpful feedback to their fellow teammates. How to conduct this type of review: Employees will receive one questionnaire per coworker that they need to review. It's up to you to decide whether this feedback will be anonymous or not. Employees might feel more comfortable being candid if they know their name isn't attached to their comments, but it could also send the message that honest feedback is something that should be secretive. It might be worth asking your team what they'd prefer between anonymous and direct peer feedback. Performance review template for peer reviews: Here's a short template that can help guide your direct reports as they reflect on the skills and contributions of their team members. Question: Employee's Answer: This peer feedback is for: What does this colleague do particularly well? What areas could this colleague improve? What sets this colleague apart from other members of the team? What company values does this colleague embody? What three words would you use to describe this colleague? Is there anything else you'd like this colleague to know? 3. Team performance reviews What this type of performance review is: Rather than focusing on individual employees, this type of review looks at the team as a unit to understand how it's functioning and what areas need to be improved. When this type of review happens: A formal team review can happen annually or twice per year. But more likely than not, you're regularly having a lot of these conversations during project retrospectives and other opportunities when you and your team reflect on your work together. Why this type of review matters: Nobody works in complete isolation, and team members need to collaborate effectively to get work accomplished. Team reviews are your chance to take a magnifying glass to your entire team and identify what's working well and what needs to be changed. How to conduct this type of review: You have some flexibility to approach this in a way that works best for you and your team. You could provide a questionnaire for employees to fill out independently in their own time. You could pull everybody together for a candid discussion and work through these questions together. Or you could do a combination of both and have team members fill out the questionnaires independently, pool the feedback, and then come together to discuss the results and findings. Again, you might want to ask your team about their preferred approach. Performance review template for team reviews: This performance review template can help you go beyond individual performance and get a more holistic view of how your entire team is functioning. Question: Employee's or Team's Answer: Team or department: What areas does our team excel in? What areas does our team struggle with? Are there any important skills you think our team is missing? Can you provide an example of a time or project when our team worked well together? Can you provide an example of a time or project when our team struggled to work together? Are there any team processes that seem bloated or broken? On a scale of 1 (very uncomfortable) to 5 (very comfortable), how comfortable are you voicing your ideas and feedback to the team? Which company values do you think our team embodies best? Which company values do you think our team needs to work on? Is there anything else you'd like to share? 4. Employer reviews What this type of performance review is: This is the "traditional" type of review that likely comes to mind when you think about performance reviews. It involves a manager providing feedback to a direct report. When this type of review happens: Quarterly or twice per year. But remember that regular feedback should also be provided during one-on-ones with team members so that nothing feels unexpected during the review period . It should build upon conversations you've already had. Why this type of review matters: As the employee's manager, you're the one ultimately responsible for guiding and shaping their development. Employees say that the most meaningful recognition comes from their own manager. These reviews are a chance for you to prove to employees that you're invested in their experiences, their growth, and their success. How to conduct this type of review: You should complete the written portion of the employee's review first and provide that document to them. Give them a chance to review and come up with questions so that you can talk through your feedback. As you work through this, ensure that your employee evaluation form isn't overwhelmingly negative but that you aren't sugarcoating things, either. Harvard Business Review research has found that six positive comments for every negative one is the most effective balance. It's not about cushioning the blows, but rather about proving that this is a development conversation — and not a firing squad. Performance review template for employer reviews: Below is a performance review template that you can complete for each of your employees and then share with them ahead of your one-on-one review conversation. Question: Manager's Answer: Employee's name: Employee's job title: 5 (Exemplary) 4 (Above Average) 3 (Average) 2 (Below Average) 1 (Poor) Communication skills Conflict resolution Problem solving Self-motivation Team player Time management Overall performance Question: Manager's Answer: What goals has the employee met since the last evaluation? What goals did the employee fall short of? What are the employee's key strengths? What are one or two areas of improvement for the employee? What value does this employee bring to the team and overall organization? What key skills would you like to see the employee develop? What is an example of a specific task or project the employee excelled in? What goals would you like to see the employee work toward ahead of the next evaluation? Is there anything else you'd like to share? Wrike can help you manage your team (and so much more) Performance reviews are important — but they aren't the end of the road. In fact, they're the starting point. You'll use your performance reviews to identify areas of improvement. Then it's your job as the manager to keep employees moving in the right direction through clear responsibilities and action items, motivating goals, and all of the resources they need to achieve those targets. Wrike can help you do all of that (and more) by: Providing visibility into your team's projects, tasks, and deadlines Boosting transparency and trust across your entire team Giving you templates you can use for performance management, work intake, and more Centralizing communication so you can always get the context you need Equipping you with metrics and examples to provide data-backed performance reviews In short, you'll have a much easier time monitoring progress and completing your performance reviews if you have a single source of truth to turn to for updates and information. Wrike makes it that much easier to keep your finger on the pulse of how your entire team — and each individual member — is doing so that you can transform review conversations from problematic and sweaty-palm-inducing to positive and productive. Ready to help your team achieve their peak potential? Get started with Wrike today.
It’s that time again: You're capping off a successful year and reflecting on everything you've accomplished in the past twelve months. But it’s not only a time to look back; it’s a time to look ahead. What do you want to accomplish in the coming year, and what’s the best way to go about it? Many leading companies tout OKRs for successful annual and quarterly planning; in fact, Google credits the process with fueling their exponential growth and success. Even if you’ve heard of OKRs, you may be curious about the details. This overview explains the basics of the method, shows you how to set OKRs, and covers the details you need to start putting it into practice. “What are OKRs, anyway?” OKR, which stands for objectives and key results, is a planning and goal-setting technique made famous by Intel and Google. OKRs represent aggressive goals and define the measurable steps you’ll take towards achieving those goals. They're typically used to set quarterly goals, but can also be used for annual planning. OKRs are set at company, team, and individual levels. Here’s a set of OKR examples: Company OKR 1:Objective: Become the #1 most-downloaded iOS productivity app— Key Result 1: Conduct a survey to identify the ten most-requested features and launch five of the top most-requested features by Nov 15— Key Result 2: Conduct ten user tests to identify UX issues— Key Result 3: Show at least 50% improvement in satisfaction with UX (via customer survey)— Key Result 4: Earn 200 five-star ratings by Dec 31 Company OKR 2:Objective: Increase brand recognition and awareness— Key Result 1: Increase media engagement by 20%— Key Result 2: Launch customer referral program by September 1— Key Result 3: Extend social media reach and visibility to two new target markets— Key Result 4: Expand thought leadership program by placing guest articles on four industry-related sites with an Alexa ranking of at least 30,000 Marketing Team OKR:Objective: Increase social media engagement by 35%— Key Result 1: Research and identify three most popular social media sites among two new target audiences and develop an engagement strategy by September 1— Key Result 2: Participate in six Twitter chats involving industry leaders— Key Result 3: Respond to new Facebook comments within three hours— Key Result 4: Increase the number of followers on Facebook and Twitter by 20% Individual OKR:Objective: Increase the number of social media connections by 25%— Key Result 1: Increase posting frequency on Twitter to 8x daily and Facebook to 3x daily— Key Result 2: Establish social media presence on two new sites, LinkedIn and Quora— Key Result 3: Join five LinkedIn groups with at least 2,500 members each and leave comments on the ten most popular discussions in each group— Key Result 4: Gain 15 followers on Quora by posting three answers and one question every week As you can see in these marketing OKR examples, company OKRs focus on big-picture goals, team OKRs define priorities for each department, and personal OKRs pinpoint what an individual will be working on. You’ll have multiple OKRs at each level, but no more than five objectives with four key results each. Otherwise, you’ll stretch yourself too thin and won’t be able to make much of an impact on any of them. Although OKRs are created at these three different levels, they all should connect and support each other. The individual’s goals should reflect team goals, team goals should reflect department goals, and department goals should reflect company goals. That way, every individual effort furthers a collective vision and contributes to what will yield the most significant results for the company. It’s important to note that OKRs are not meant for annual review purposes or for evaluating employee performance. They’re ambitious targets meant to push employees and the company as a whole forward. If you set an aggressive goal and don't meet it, you aren't punished for it, nor are bonuses given out for meeting or exceeding OKRs. Build a culture where people can be bold and take risks without fearing the consequences and aren't tempted to play it safe for short-term rewards. OKRs can be useful as references for employees, since they'll always have a concise summary of exactly what they’ve accomplished in the last quarter/year, backed up with hard data, to quantify their contributions to the company. OKRs must be: 1. Ambitious. If you’re always meeting or exceeding your high-level team or company goals, you’re not reaching far enough. Your OKRs should make you a little uneasy in that you’re not entirely confident you’ll be able to meet them. Remember, these aren’t goals that you’ll be held to for evaluation or promotion purposes, they’re goals that are meant to stretch you and grow the company. So think big. Personal OKRs can be more conservative — include a few lofty goals to push yourself to excel, but ensure most are achievable. 2. Measurable. “Increase the number of registered users by 25%,” not, “Get more users.” Every Key Result needs to have a number attached to it, whether that's a percentage, a dollar amount, or a due date. 3. Public. The entire company should be able to see your OKRs, not just managers or executives. Visibility and accountability promote collaboration between individuals and departments since everyone knows what everyone else is working on and towards. 4. Graded. At the end of the quarter (or year), give yourself a grade for each key result, where 0 is “Didn’t even come close” and 1 is “met or exceeded every aspect.” (Because OKRs are meant to be aggressive goals, a 0.6 or 0.7 is an admirable score. More on grading a bit later.) “Why should I bother with OKRs?” What are the benefits of OKRs? Why choose this technique over other planning methods? For one, OKRs promote disciplined, focused thinking. Every business decision is made with this question in mind: Will this get us closer to our objective, yes or no? Second, OKRs establish clear standards for measuring progress. Since everything is based on numbers and quantified data, you can accurately measure how far you’ve come towards reaching your goals and how far you have to go in a tangible and exact way. In addition, the fact that OKRs are public brings improved transparency and more accurate communication because everyone understands the specifics of what others are working on instead of relying on an assumed or incomplete knowledge of another team’s goals. Finally, efforts are more centralized and collaborative. Everyone knows what the top priorities are, how their work contributes, and how they can align with other teams for powerful joint efforts. “How do I grade myself?” This is important, so first things first: Grades don’t matter except to indicate whether you should keep pursuing your objectives or need to redirect your efforts. Focus on working towards your OKRs, not on your grades. When it comes to your OKR performance evaluation, stick to the numbers. If your OKR is to “increase the number of users logging in at least 3x a week by 30%” and you managed to increase it by 15%, give yourself a score of 0.5. You can average your key results grades into a total Objective score, and if you like, you can average all of your Objective scores to see your overall grade for the quarter/year. According to Google, failing to meet your OKR goals is better than overshooting them by a wide margin. If your company or team is always scoring 1s across the board, your high-level OKRs aren't ambitious enough. It's better to set a challenging goal than play it safe! Shoot for the moon, and be satisfied with hitting at least 60-70% of your goal. A low score isn’t a failure. It’s a sign you need to re-evaluate whether the objective is still worth pursuing or rethink your approach. Should you focus your efforts elsewhere? What have you learned? Can you figure out a different way of doing things? Scores benefit everyone by showing you what not to do, what to do differently, and what to continue doing more of. “What does the OKR process look like?” One quality that sets OKRs apart from most other planning strategies is the fact that goals aren’t simply dictated from the executive level down. The OKR process should reflect circular discussions among employees and managers, where at least 60% of the company’s goals are bottom-up. To reflect this idea, each employee is asked to submit OKRs they think the department should prioritize. A staff meeting is held to collectively develop team objectives and align them with company goals. Employees then set individual OKRs that reflect and support larger company and team goals, and meet with their managers to discuss what they want to work on in the upcoming quarter and what they believe is the best use of their time. During this discussion, the employee and manager develop and negotiate the specifics of each OKR. Teams, managers, and employees often hold a mid-quarter check-up meeting to share progress and make any adjustments. Annual OKRs in particular needn’t be set in stone: If you’ve discovered that the assumptions you made last year aren’t accurate, there's no need to stubbornly stick to them. At the end of the quarter, hold a wrap-up meeting where everyone shares their grades, explains their results, and outlines the adjustments they’re going to make for the next quarter. After reflecting on this quarter’s performance, start setting OKRs for next quarter. For a comprehensive look at how Google uses OKRs, check out this explanatory video (1:21:49): Ready to start? With OKRs, you’re essentially creating a shortlist of what you need to focus on in order to excel at your job. Nebulous responsibilities and performance goals are gone, and instead, you have crystal clear objectives, a specific, agreed-upon roadmap, and measurable progress. How to use Wrike to set and monitor OKRs If you’re interested in trying out OKR goal setting in your own organization, you'll need the right OKR goals software to set and track your objectives across your entire team. Wrike's OKR template allows you to define the measurable steps you'll take towards achieving quarterly goals — organize company and departmental OKRs with folders, then break key results into tasks and subtasks connected to their overall objectives. Allow your team to build out their individual OKRs with personalized folders and subtasks. When everything's ready, create custom dashboards to monitor progress and keep critical tasks front and center. At the end of the quarter, use Wrike's dynamic reports to showcase how your team's work impacted the big picture. Start your free Wrike trial today to get up and running fast. Source: Google Ventures' Startup Lab Workshop: How Google Sets Goals
We asked our faithful Wrike users for their own tips on how to nail your annual review. Some tips are for managers, other tips are for employees. See what they have to say, and apply what seems wise in order to get through your annual review with minimal stress. Annual Review Tips for Managers We asked: "As a manager, how do you make sure you run a fair, efficient, and effective process?" Managers from various industries gave us their best tips to make sure everyone comes out of the review process feeling like they had a positive experience. 1. Be fair and consistent "Make sure you are reviewing everyone on appropriate standards." — Matt Graf "Have appropriate and fair measures in place." — Karien Bredenkamp 2. Communicate the process and goals "Set clear and objective goals." — Nick Stelmazuk "Daily communication with everyone and planning ahead." — Sammy 3. Have tough conversations early on "Daily communication about tasks, even if they're conversations you don't want to have (i.e. when your employee isn't performing)." — Mitchell Moss Annual Review Tips for Employees We asked: "As an employee, what are some things you do to make sure you nail your annual review?" Employees from around the globe shared tips on everything from dress code to how to prepare so you rock your annual review meeting. Decide which tips will work best for you. 1. Prepare in advance "Prepare early, track goals throughout the year." — Nick Stelmazuk "Spend enough time preparing - don't try to 'wing it.'" — Karien Bredenkamp 2. Dress for the occasion "Look snappy, and be honest." — Tory Dirk Trone 3. Show proof of results, don't just tell "Be honest about my standing of where I am with my projects, and what I have completed and how." — Matthew Miller "Give a detailed and honest description of how I've accomplished the things I worked on, and how I've completed the tasks that have been assigned to me. Also, I track the time I spend on each task so I can have some physical proof of my work." — Ivana Reyes "I make sure that I quantify my job with my tasks in Wrike." — Christina Anstett 4. Set new goals for the next year "Review or renew my short/medium/long-term goals; Put a wish list of things I'd like; Have questions for how I can improve." — Mitchell Moss What tips can you share? Not every piece of advice on this list will be applicable for you, but hopefully you've found something useful to nudge you in the right direction. Help out your peers by sharing your annual review best practices in the comments below. Read Next: Don't Become a Project Manager from Hell!
Performance reviews: dreaded morale-crusher or welcome opportunity for recognition (and a possible raise)? Whichever side you come down on, you can probably agree that there's room for improvement when it comes to employee evaluations. How did this standard practice become so common? Do they really work? The beginnings of performance reviews stretch all the way back to the Industrial Revolution of the 1700s. The 1920s saw a huge shift in employee treatment with the birth of Human Resources, pensions, and minimum wage. Between 1992 and 1997, employee satisfaction with the review process plummeted from 20% to 5%. [inlinetweet prefix="" tweeter="" suffix="via @Wrike"]4 out of 5 workers feel performance reviews don’t accurately reflect the work they’ve done[/inlinetweet]. Take a look at the full infographic below to learn exactly how performance reviews came to be common practice, and how technology will make them more social in the coming years. Source: Walton Illustration Ace Your Next Performance Review Use our collection of productivity tips to stand out as a top performer on your team and wow your boss.
As an employee, giving feedback to your manager can be daunting. In this article, we offer three tips for how to give upward feedback that will be positive and productive, as well as a free sample 1:1 agenda to improve the quality of your feedback sessions.
Most managers think they give enough feedback, but their team members’ opinions prove this isn’t true. Zarvana CEO and founder Matt Plummer discusses different types of feedback productive managers should give and how frequently they should be given in order to raise employee engagement and growth.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? If the last time you considered this question was during a job interview, you're probably past due for a little self-reflection. And while it's important to acknowledge where you have room for improvement, it's actually best not to spend too much time and energy working on your weaknesses. Instead, focus on doing more of what you're already great at. After all, if your writing skills are a 1 out of 10, even months of work might only get you to a 4 or 5. So devote that time to pinpointing areas where you excel and finding ways to make your true talents shine. When the work you do draws on your natural abilities, it's less arduous. It makes work more interesting and engaging, elevating your performance and attracting the kind of positive attention that’s key for advancing your career. But true introspection is not easy, and identifying your personal strengths in a meaningful way can be a challenge. 5 Ways to Identify Your Personal Strengths Some people are good at asking the big-picture questions: what problem are we trying to solve and why? What are our company goals? These visionary thinkers are able to create an inspiring, positive picture of the future and rally others around it. Others excel at analyzing facts and figures and determining what needs to be done when, boiling down big-picture thinking into clear, specific goals. Still others are good at using proven techniques and tools to make processes more effective and efficient. To identify your core strengths, ask yourself the following questions: Which activities are the most satisfying or fulfilling for you? What energizes you at work? What tasks do your colleagues come to you for help with? What types of work do you get the most praise for? When you look up from your work to find that two hours have flown by, what kind of projects are you working on? What kinds of skills or abilities are you using when you feel most "in the zone?" What kinds of activities do you do when you’re not at work? What types of hobbies or volunteer work do you do? Organizing events? Building relationships? For an even deeper understanding of your strengths, ask colleagues, mentors, friends, and family for feedback. Ask them about times when you made an important contribution or helped them in a meaningful way, then look for patterns or themes. Do you stay calm under pressure? Are you reliable? Show enthusiasm and curiosity? Persevere when times get tough? You might be pleasantly surprised at how many strengths your peers recognize and appreciate in you! How to Apply Your Strengths to Your Daily Work Now that you've identified them, how can you structure your work to play to your strengths? Every position has certain constraints, and not every aspect of your job will be a natural complement to the type of work you excel at. But that doesn't mean you can't tailor your projects and teamwork to play up your advantages and those of your colleagues — and draw positive attention to your efforts and accomplishments. Even small changes can make a big impact, like shifting your schedule or adjusting how many meetings you hold. For instance, if you find that your strengths include both relationship building and creative problem solving, ask your team to share their biggest roadblocks and brainstorm ways to improve products and processes. In some instances, no amount of fine-tuning or rescheduling will make your job a fit for your natural strengths and abilities. If you find that's the case for you, it may be time to reevaluate whether your current position is truly a good fit for your career goals and personal happiness — and arming yourself with a deeper understanding of the types of situations in which you excel is a critical first step in finding a new position or career path that you can thrive in. Knowing your own strengths and that of others on your team makes it easier to find that collaboration sweet spot where everyone is able to play to their strengths, and not get bogged down by motivation-draining tasks where they can’t add value. So stop dwelling on your weaknesses, and start making your strengths even stronger. For more ways to up your game at work, check out these articles on simple ways to develop your leadership skills and bring more positivity to your work. Sources: HBR.org, Forbes.com, Medium.com